Oklahoma 2018 Betting Preview: Kyler Murray Should Lead Sooners to Big 12 Glory
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyler Murray
Oklahoma 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +3150
- To win the Big 12: +132
- To reach Big 12 title game: -168
- To make Playoff: Yes +460, No -700
- To play in NY6 Bowl: Yes -155, No +115
- Win Total: 10 (over -130, under +110)
All lines taken from 5Dimes on July 31. Always shop for the best line.
Oklahoma 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 10.3
Bet To Watch
Oklahoma to win the Big 12 +132
The Sooners went through big changes this offseason, headlined by Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield’s departure. Not to be overlooked, however, is the fact that Oklahoma’s defense ranks 106th in returning production, and it struggled at times even with all that experience (101st in defensive S&P+).
But the Sooners remain in great hands under center. Kyler Murray — who was selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in this year’s MLB draft — will be allowed to play quarterback for Oklahoma this season despite being signed for nearly $5 million.
If you’ve never watched Murray — a former 5-star recruit who played at Texas A&M — run an offense, you may want to buckle your seatbelt. He averaged just 5.7 yards per pass attempt in 2015 for the Aggies, but has run for 7.1 yards per carry in his career. He’s an elite athlete who can make plays in a lot of ways.
Not many other schools could lose a Heisman-caliber quarterback and not miss a beat on offense, but Oklahoma is the exception. I expect the Sooners, who are two deep on the offensive line, to have similar numbers on offense as they did last year when they ranked first overall in offensive S&P+, third in points per game and second in explosiveness. Yes, Murray will be that electric in this offense.
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The defense is where things start to get dicey. Oklahoma loses half of its sacks from 2017, and the secondary will be full of fresh faces. Teams that can throw the ball down the field could give OU issues, but in the Big 12, that is limited to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. The Red Raiders and Pokes will each be going through offensive personnel changes. Meanwhile, Will Grier and West Virginia should have field day with this secondary.
With the new round-robin rules and a conference title game that will feature the best two teams from the conference, I think there’s good value on Oklahoma to win the Big 12 at +132. Is there any possible scenario Oklahoma does NOT finish in first or second? Yes, but it’s highly unlikely, and if the Sooners make the title game, Oklahoma will almost certainly be the favorite, which will present a good hedge opportunity.
What else you need to know about Oklahoma
There’s a real chance Oklahoma loses to West Virginia on Nov. 23. At that point, the Sooners may have already qualified for the Big 12 Championship Game and — if they are 11-0 — could still make the College Football Playoff with a loss.
On the flip side, West Virginia will likely have all kinds of motivation for the game. The Mountaineers could be fighting for a bowl game, a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship or for Grier’s Heisman campaign. The current number of West Virginia +7 is available, but I am waiting until the Sooners’ hype machine kicks in. This spread could be north of 10 if Oklahoma comes in undefeated.